What Does Your Compressor Really Do?


Replacing a compressor is one of the most expensive repairs that may be required on an air conditioning system, but what does your compressor really do? For many homeowners, the air conditioning system is essentially a black box that produces cool air and occasionally demands a fresh injection of money to keep operating. While there's nothing wrong with remaining in the dark and leaving everything up to the professionals, knowing a bit about your AC system can help you to make better choices when something does go wrong or when your system needs an upgrade.

Since the compressor is one of the most important parts of the entire system, it makes sense to start your education there.

Your Air Conditioner Doesn't Produce Air

Perhaps the number one misconception about air conditioning systems is the idea that they produce cold air. The truth is that your air conditioning system removes warm air from your home. As the air conditioner removes this heat from the air inside your house, that freshly cooled air is then distributed to each room through your ductwork.

To accomplish this, your air conditioning system makes use of a fluid known as a refrigerant. In this case, the term "fluid" is used in its more scientific sense. The refrigerant actually exists in two states—liquid and gaseous—as it travels from your outdoor air conditioning unit to your indoor air conditioning unit. The transformation from one phase to the other is the key to making the whole system work properly.

The Compressor is a Pump

How does refrigerant move throughout the system? That's where the compressor comes in. Your air conditioner's compressor is located in the outdoor unit and it effectively functions as a pump. Inside the compressor is a piston whose job is to, as you might expect, compress the refrigerant into a high-pressure gas. The action of this piston also creates suction on the input side, which draws low-pressure refrigerant into the compressor.

This compression is important because increasing the pressure of the refrigerant also naturally increases its temperature. The refrigerant that is drawn into the compressor is already carrying heat from inside your home, and the highly compressed refrigerant is now much warmer than the ambient temperature outdoors. The higher-pressure refrigerant can now move into the condenser, where it is able to release its heat and begin moving back into your home to absorb more heat from the interior air.

Compressors Are Very Reliable

While the compressor is not a cheap part to replace, the good news is that they tend to be very reliable. In most cases, an air conditioning compressor will last a decade or more before finally needing replacement. Often, compressors that fail early do so thanks to poor maintenance or installation errors, such as over- or underfilling the refrigerant lines. By keeping up with basic maintenance such as filter replacement and coil cleaning, as well as scheduling regular inspections of your air conditioning system, your compressor is likely to have a long and trouble-free life.

For more information, contact a company like Any Season Heating & Air Conditioning.


27 June 2019

Keeping up With Maintenance Between HVAC Inspections

Working with HVAC contractors is an important part of being a homeowner. Not only do your contractors ensure that a new system you buy is properly installed, but they also ensure optimal performance throughout the years through a series of regular inspections, maintenance services, and repairs. But there are lots of things you can do in between your contractor's visits to ensure that your HVAC investment is always in tip top condition, aside from cleaning out the air filters. After working with my dad for more than a decade in the HVAC business, I've put together a few methods homeowners can use to maintain a well working system, and I have published those tips and tricks right here on this blog. I hope some of the information you find here helps you on your journey as a homeowner!